Germany's former Chancellor Angela Merkel is making a guest appearance on a true crime podcast's Christmas special. The show examines questions of crime that spring from composer Richard Wagner's most famous work.
Former chancellor and music fan Angela Merkel is to make an appearance on the Christmas special of a crime podcast that looks at one of her greatest passions.
The show, "Are we Talking about Murder?" examines fictional crimes within Richard Wagner's four-part opera "The Ring of the Nibelung."
The podcast by German public broadcaster SWR normally looks at questions about real-life crimes such as motives and how evidence is gathered to prove the culprit guilty.
It features former federal judge Thomas Fischer and legal expert Holger Schmidt as hosts, as well as guests.
Rather than looking at true crimes, the Christmas special looks at the fictional misdeeds committed in the opera story created by the 19th century German composer Richard Wagner.
The opera, about the intrigues surrounding a cursed ring in a tale of gods and mortals, is performed in the northern Bavarian city of Bayreuth each year.
Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer regularly attend the event, staged in four parts over several days. The opening premiere was always one of the few times a year that she appeared with her spouse, jokingly called the "Phantom of the Opera" by the press.
"I'm also happy that we're doing something completely different here," the DPA news agency quoted Merkel as saying when asked why she decided to participate. The former chancellor added that it was part of her "newly won freedom" to now "go in a completely different direction."
The festival traditionally ushered in the beginning of the couple's summer holiday.
The three-part Christmas special was due to be released on Sunday afternoon.
Merkel, now 68, served for 16 years as chancellor and did not stand for re-election to the Bundestag last year. Meanwhile, she has appeared as a speaker at events including an anniversary event for the German city of Goslar and the 77th anniversary of the German broadsheet Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. It's expected that she will publish her memoirs in late 2024.
Merkel was Germany's first female chancellor and was named "The World's Most Powerful Woman" by Forbes magazine for 10 years in a row.
However, since Russia's invasion Ukraine in February, the former chancellor has also been accused of appeasing Russian President Vladimir Putin, a criticism that she has rejected.